Panther

Belgrade’s volleyball team lost their fourth consecutive match to begin the season Saturday in Billings. But first-year coach Brit Murphy was pleased with the team’s effort.

“Today they put up a really good fight,” she said. “That was the best that I’ve seen them play so far, especially the second set. They really fought hard and had a really good game.”

Led by 10 kills and six digs from Kaitlin Grossman, unbeaten West (4-0) posted a 25-11, 25-22, 25-11 Eastern AA victory.

“We struggled a bit in serve-receive,” Murphy noted, “which ended up being the death of us in that third match.”

Senior middle hitter Brytan Rogers was injured in Belgrade’s home opener Thursday, thus Murphy was forced to rework the lineup. Two junior varsity players stepped up to fill the void, and Murphy touted their performance.

“With Brytan Rogers being hurt we totally mixed up our rotation and we brought up a couple of girls from JV, Josie Blazina and Rhea Zahller, and they rocked it. We were really strong offensively today,” she said. “They were doing a really good job of working around the block, which is exactly what we’ve been working on.”

Tayler Thomas led the Panthers offensively with six kills, while Tycelee Bowler contributed eight digs and Gracey Carter 1.5 blocks.

“Our serves were really good today,” said Murphy. “Tayler Thomas and Rhea definitely led us in the front row with their swings. They were working really hard up there.”

Belgrade (0-4) returns to action Tuesday hosting Bozeman in another conference match.

Billings West def. Belgrade 25-11, 25-22, 25-11.

BELGRADE (0-4) - Kills: 17 (Tayler Thomas 6). Digs: 22 (Tycelee Bowler 8). Blocks: 2 (Gracey Carter 1.5). Aces: 4 (4 with 1). Assists: 18 (Delanee Hicks 17).

BILLINGS WEST (4-0) - Kills: 39 (Kaitlin Grossman 10). Digs: 28 (Kate Nienaber 6, Grossman 6). Blocks: 2 (Sidney Streiff 1, Grossman 1). Aces: 12 (Addie Allen 6). Assists: 35 (Taylor Graham 20).